Monday, April 21, 2008

Canes and Noles Fight (Literally) For #1

Yonder Alonso provided the fireworks during the game, hitting a grand slam which helped propel the #1 Canes to an 11-10 victory over the Seminoles in Tallahassee, and a 2-1 series victory, sealing their place at the very top of the college baseball world. Both teams, and Noles' fans, provided fireworks aplenty after the game. Let's set the stage...

Miami was up 11-3 in the 4th inning, thanks in large part to Alonso's blast the previous inning. Miami starting pitcher Eric Erickson (6-0), making his first start in a month due to elbow soreness, was looking in top post-injury form. FSU surged when Erickson left the game, rocking Hurricane relievers David Gutierrez and Kyle Bellamy to reduce the Canes' lead to 11-9. The furious comeback would fall short, however, as the game ended after seven innings to accommodate UM's travel plans.

FSU's players were crestfallen, and refused to make it out to home plate to engage in standard post-game handshakes with Hurricane players. This prompted the Canes to jump around and celebrate their victory near home plate. FSU's entire squad raced to home plate, where heated words, but no punches, were exchanged, as team staff and security personnel were able to restore peace before the situation got out of control. As the Canes were exiting the stadium, several FSU fans began cussing their rival's players and throwing things at them. UM players not unexpectedly began flashing the team "U" logo with their hands and mocking FSU's tomahawk chop.

Classlessness prevailed on both sides. I think the Noles players were wrong to not come out and shake hands with Canes players. Yes, it was a hard-fought series, and college baseball supremacy was on the line. But anyone who knows college baseball knows that it is customary, and wholly in keeping with the spirit of collegiate athletics, to shake hands with the other team after the game - the Hurricanes were justified in feeling that such a no-show at home plate was an affront. The Noles also came off as the aggressors in the whole affair, and did not have to come out to begin what could have been an all-out brawl just because the Canes celebrated a huge series victory over their hated rival. The Canes players, on the other hand, were wrong to elevate themselves in a haughty and demeaning manner in enemy territory. I fancy myself a tad old-school, and think that a team's play on the field should do all of the talking. There was really no need to rub in the series victory - it happened, and you solidified your place atop college baseball. Now go home, rest up, go to class, and ready yourself for a run through Omaha.

This is Miami and FSU, so confrontations are to be expected. But one thing that Canes and Noles have shown each other consistently over the past several decades was respect. Neither side seemed willing to continue that tradition on Sunday afternoon.

6 comments:

ASponge said...

How about some "wide right" on a few Noles HRs? I'll take that.

Stanley said...

Gotta love the class of "those other Florida schools." It's too bad what sounded like a great baseball game ended like this. Hopefully they'll meet up in Omaha for a full 9 inning - 3 game series.

E.J. said...

In the end, I suppose, players from both schools are just "kids", and hard feelings after a loss and braggadocio after a win can be expected. What's a little harder to fathom are the fans' actions in throwing things onto the field. You'd think sophisticated adults would know better. This is not, by the way, a shot at the people of Tallahassee. This kind of disgusting display would happen anywhere, and has.

Jay Warman said...

The Canes went a little cooky when they beat FAU on Alonso's 9th inning homer... so I can see them being equally obnoxious when they beat a top team like FSU.

I don't think sophisticated adults were the ones throwing stuff. Probably was the students, no?

E.J. said...

Jay, you are right about Cane "cookiness". I tried to make clear in my post that the Canes weren't blameless in the whole affair.

As for who was throwing stuff, by all accounts I have read, it was the non-student Seminole fans. They were also hurling anti-Latino epithets at the UM players, say some some eyewitnesses. That is simply inexcusable if true.

ASponge said...

The obvious conclusion from all this? FSU, Miami, FAU, and FIU all have behavioral problems.

Why can't we all just be upstanding citizens like Tim Tebow?